What Is Church?

So I’ve been doing a lot of reading lately on Church. I’ve been listening and reading to a lot of stuff online as well as reading the old fashion way with ink on pages you feel and smell and hold while you digest. It’s making me ask some pretty stupid questions for a guy who works as a pastor.

Here’s the question of the day and I’d honestly love to read any responses you would care to leave in comments.

“What is Church?” The picture with this post is the first image that popped up on Google Image Search for “church”. I’ve been reading guys who are saying things about the past, present and future of the church that would lead me to believe there’s no room for me or no need of me in it. They say that you couldn’t get the people that I live with here to actually form a community of faith and I have to wonder if maybe I’ve fooled myself all this time.

If it’s not about relationship and each of us moving closer to God through Jesus, getting more of him into us and more of us into him and more of us shared with each other, then I’m not sure what it is.

The more books I read the more difficult it sounds to be church but experience wise and taking the Bible for what it says, it seems profoundly simple.

So what do you think? What’s your one sentence description of church? What is Church?

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About brianmpei

Stumbling towards what comes next.
This entry was posted in Christianity, Church, Confession, emerging church, God, Leadership, Meaning, questions, Reflective, Relationship, religion. Bookmark the permalink.

11 Responses to What Is Church?

  1. Bob B. says:

    Here’s a one sentence theological definition of what constitutes a church (the three marks of the church): “Wherever the Word of God is rightly preached, the Sacraments rightly administered, and church discipline rightly applied, there you can be assured a church exists.” That needs a lot of unpacking and does rest on one’s definition of “rightly,” but the first two come from Calvin and Luther. Later theologians and reformers added the discipline part.

    That said, what is THE CHURCH? “It is the community of believers in Jesus Christ, which includes those living, dead, and yet to be born.” That’s a pretty broad definition of THE CHURCH, but does not really define how to be the Church, which I think is what you are asking.

    For that definition, you aren’t far off. It is a community of “relationships where each individual is moving closer to God through Jesus by getting more of Him into us, while more of us is shared with others inside the church and outside the church.”

  2. sweetlybroken says:

    “Church” has as many definitions as it has translations. Our Church is a place where everyone is welcome, everyone, and together we get to know each God by knowing each other. Perhaps it’s time to put down the books and look out from the front on a Sunday morning and really see what “Church” looks like. I have often thought that Church done 2000 years ago looks like Church done by CC, we’re just indoors.

  3. sweetlybroken says:

    OOps, “we get to know God….” not each God

  4. NJM says:

    From apostolic times the church has been regarded as a brotherhood or family, not a promiscuous gathering of believers and unbelivers. The services were at first held in the homes of members. In the Gospels the word appears but twice, indicative of the fact that the development of the idea and the institution was not greatly accelerated until some decades after the Crucifixion. As the institution contiued to grow, more and more attention was paid to matters regarding it organization and the qualification and duties of the officers. I and II Timothey and Titus give especial attention to these details. (cited from a glossary in my 1955 Holy Bible).

  5. brianmpei says:

    Bob B. Thanks for this: “those living, dead, and yet to be born” and the rest but especially that.

    And Sweetly, I think you’re right but these guys have written books so, you know, they must know something I don’t…

    NJM – thanks for this: “not a promiscuous gathering” what an economy of words! A little phrase that says a lot and defines what we ARE by what we’re not. Well done!

  6. MistiPearl says:

    “Church” – A dynamic body of believers with one heart, one purpose, and one Spirit in and after Christ Jesus, all to the Glory of God.

    In one sentence, this is what I think of when I think of “Church”. It is not confined to one way of traditional being, but ever developing, growing, and maturing, becoming more effective in feeding and ministering to each other and to the unbeliever. The role of the pastor is not obsolete, but essential in helping the team to stay focused on Christ, His Word…

    One could say so much more on this…But in a sentence (or few) this is my answer:)
    ~MistiPearl

  7. brianmpei says:

    Thanks Misti, that was good stuff!

  8. TJ says:

    Church….one sentence?? Man, you are a tough cookie…
    For me, church is when you see, hear of, or are part of those momements people have no control over when He is working through us, and you can’t help but think…”Ah yes…there He is…” and be so filled with His presence it starts coming out your eyes in tears and gives you a big goofy grin.
    On Earth, church was, is, and always will be my Nany, my grandmother…
    I know…two sentences….couldn’t pick one…

  9. NJM says:

    You really got me to thinking, “What is Church”?
    Sooo, I started reading a lot of different books, looking for something that made sense to me. Well, while reading Rick Warren’s Forty Days of Purpose, which my Bible Study group is reviewing, I found this: God commands us to once a week set aside one day for worship. Mr. Warren goes on to state, it is to be a corporate worship together with other believers; God wants us to gather with the rest of His family to praise Him together. When we do, He meets us there.
    Matthew 18:20-“Whenever two or three of you come together in My name, I am there with you”.
    Mr. Warren explains that is when we can worship in ways we are unable to by ourselves, when two or more of us gather together, to sing, celebrate, pray, confess, meditate give offerings, our faith is reaffirmed, our hope is reinforced and our love is renewed. To me that is God’s Church!

  10. drew says:

    Hanging out w believers. Church is bound to take place on some level.

  11. brianmpei says:

    Most days I’m very comfortable with that description drew. I know that some of the believers I hang out with will likely get to practice raising the dead if I keep trying to learn how to surf with them.

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